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Monday, November 7, 2016

Mucking Through Historical Blogs

Students in Mrs. Proudman's class have recently created blogs from the perspective of historical investigative journalists from the end of the 19th century.  These journalists looked into the dark side of the so called Gilded Age in American history, often dragging topics into the light for others to see, earning them the moniker of "muckrakers."  For this project, each student was assigned their own muckraker to research and learn about.  But instead of writing a report or a standard presentation about their subject, the students used Blogger to create blogs about the journalists.  "I really liked making the blog," said Carlos, a student in Mrs. Proudman's class.  "It made it more fun because we were able to use our imagination more and make it more of a story than a report."

Student working on the Blogger site
According to the project instructions on Mrs. Proudman's example blog, students had to imagine they were going on a "Ride-A-Long" with their journalist as they investigated an issue of the time. Students then created a blog with multiple posts to document that journey, including biographical information about the journalist, photos or pictures from the trip, and transcripts of what happened.  This allowed the students to explore the time period and the subjects in a more immersive way.  "The project was very interesting," said Carlos.  "It allowed us a chance to time-travel back and see their own views, how things looked like to them."  A good example is this blog on Samuel Hopkins Adams, which writes from a perspective of a third person traveling with Mr. Adams.   As the students wrote their blog posts, they took time to ask themselves "What does it feel like? What do you see? What do you smell?"  Some of the blog even took this a step further and wrote their posts from the first person view of the muckraker themselves, such as this blog on Nellie Bly.  The beauty of this project is that not only did it give students a chance to use their imagination to explore the time period, but it also allowed them the choice of how to present and relay that information.  They could write from different angles, include pictures, videos, or anything else they wanted on their blogs.  Students even took the time to comment on their peers' blog posts to leave both praise and constructive feedback.  Take a look at some of the blogs linked above or some more examples below, and enjoy your trip back in time!

Blog on John Spargo
Blog on Lincoln Steffner

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